Prior to the Civil War, Ohio had more African American settlements than any other state–around 100 of them.

Father-daughter co-authors David  Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker have a new book, HISTORIC BLACK SETTLEMENTS OF OHIO, that takes an in-depth look at this history that has all but been forgotten. Where were these settlements? How were they formed? What happened to them?

Although some of these Black settlements were once occupied by hundreds of people through multiple generations, most people are not aware of their existence.

David and Elise weave together the stories of these settlements, discussing and unveiling how they came to be, and in some cases flourished. Today, all that remains are scattered cemeteries and an occasional house or church.

Check out the short video below of David and Elise discussing some of these topics, and please join us for the Ohio Book Talks free lecture and conversation held on Zoom on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

Don’t forget to register for the book discussion and order your signed book!

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Book cover- Historic Black Settlements of Ohio

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Ohio Book Talks


Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020
6:30-7:30 PM
What Happened to Ohio’s Historic Black Settlements?
with David Meyers & Elise Meyers Walker


Ohio Book Talks is a new series of author-led discussions of new books covering different periods in Ohio history. Each program will be held online via Zoom meeting and will feature a short lecture from the author followed by a discussion and Q&A with the audience. Programs are presented by Buckeye Book Fair with the support of Ohio Humanities.

PARTICIPATION INFORMATION:    Programs are free and held on Zoom, register here
DISCUSSION GUIDE:   Download here

VIEWING INFORMATION:    Watch again later on our YouTube channel

Discussion Questions


In the years leading up to the Civil War, Ohio was home to as many as 100 Black settlements—more than any other state in the Union. Why was there such a particularly high concentration of African American communities in Ohio?



By the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly all of the Black settlements in Ohio had either vanished or lost their ethnic identity and few traces of them remain today. What are some of the reasons for their disappearance?




Although Ohio’s historic Black settlements arose in direct response to slavery, there was considerable variation in how each came to be founded. Why were there so many different ways in which the settlements were founded? What were some of the different ways in which founding occurred?



Although some of these Black settlements were once occupied by hundreds of people and for multiple generations, why is so little known about most of them?


Some of Ohio’s Black communities such as Carthagena in Mercer County flourished, while others such as the Gist settlements in Brown struggled to eke out an existence. Why did some of Ohio’s Black communities thrive while others struggled?